Results 1 to 3 of 3
  1. ESL101
    Guest
    #1

    Could you vs. Can you?

    1) Could you please help me with this?
    2) Can you please help me with this?

    Which one is correct? I've heard people use the first one a lot but why should you use Past Tense when asking someone to do something?

  2. RonBee's Avatar
    • Member Info
      • Member Type:
      • Other
      • Native Language:
      • American English
      • Home Country:
      • United States
      • Current Location:
      • United States

    • Join Date: Feb 2003
    • Posts: 16,570
    • Post Thanks / Like
    #2

    Re: Could you vs. Can you?

    It's not past tense in that case. It's just a polite way of making a request.

    • Member Info
      • Member Type:
      • English Teacher
      • Native Language:
      • British English
      • Home Country:
      • UK
      • Current Location:
      • Japan

    • Join Date: Nov 2002
    • Posts: 46,254
    • Post Thanks / Like
    #3
    With the modals, past tense does not mean past time necessarily. We use it to create a distance (social) between ourselves and the person we are talking to. This is probably because we don'y have two, or more, forms for the second person pronouns.

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •